The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 4

    Burns

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 2

    Groped

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 9

    Groped

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 6

    Random Assault